Opportunities for students via U.S. Department of State

By Raybin Dockery

WASHINGTON – In acknowledgment of Black History Month, The U.S. Department of State hosted a public affairs conference on Friday for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Several hundred students participated in the conference to learn about domestic and international issues and career opportunities at the U.S. Department of State.

The conference began with a video welcome from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She spoke about the importance of being engaged in the world and that we have a chance to better mankind.

After Clinton’s welcome, the conference promptly turned to insightful discussions on the Arab Spring Movement, the U.S. Global Health Initiative, China relations, and human rights.

Many students voiced their opinions and asked questions about the U.S. Department of State’s role in these issues and how decisions are made so that the United States can have strong relationships with other countries.

Stephanie Bright, a senior international relations major at Shaw University, expressed her interest in the U.S. Department of State’s involvement in many global issues: “As an international relations major, I always want to be aware of the State Department’s initiatives to bring equality, leadership, and freedom worldwide.

“This conference is a great chance for us as young people to use our voices, and let the State Department know our concerns and inquiries on many pressing topics.”

During the second half of the four-hour conference, Kimberly McClure, an eight- year Foreign Service Officer with U.S. Department of State and senior advisor for the 100,000-Strong Initiative, spoke about the importance of studying abroad, especially as African-American students.

McClure explained that 1 percent of all students enrolled at institutions of higher education in the United States travel abroad and African-American students only make up 4.7 percent of that 1-percent participation.

“I was surprised to learn about the small percentage of black students traveling abroad,” said Tiara Stallworth, a junior communications major at Bowie State University, “but after hearing about the many travel opportunities at the State Department there is no reason why I or any other students should not be able to travel abroad.”

Daniel A. Stewart, a branch chief for student programs, discussed the many student career possibilities at the U.S. Department of State, such as internships, fellowships, and temporary employment programs that are all available online.

“I am considering a career with the State Department,” said Jasmine Hal, a junior history major a Bowie State University, “and I am definitely going to further investigate these great student career programs.”

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications